Western Carolina University beats mountain-rival UNC Asheville

On Tuesday April 1 the Western Carolina Catamounts hosted mountain rival, UNC Asheville.  The Catamounts welcomed back former Catamount and current UNC Asheville coach, Tom Smith.  Smith is a 1976 graduate of Western Carolina University.

The top of the first inning featured 1 run and 1 hit for the Bulldogs.  Starting pitcher Bryan Sammons walked 3 Bulldogs to load the bases and eventually allow a score by Tommy Houmard.  This put the UNC Asheville Bulldogs up 1-0.  Sammons was able to respond by forcing a double play to end the top of the first inning. The bottom of the first inning featured a 3 and out for the Catamounts.

The bottom of the second inning featured the Catamount offense coming alive.  The Catamounts recorded 2 hits but left runners on the corners  In the top of the fourth inning a UNC Asheville assistant coach was thrown out for a confrontation with the umpire.

At the bottom of the fourth the Catamounts were able to load the bases.  The pitcher hit 2 players to reach base and 1 was walked.  Luke Gragg came in to pitch hit with the bases loaded and was also hit by a ball.  As a result Cody Jones was able to cross the home base to tie the game at 1.  UNC Asheville then brought reserve pitcher Corey Randall in to pitch with the bases loaded and 2 outs.  Reece Strong followed up to pinch hit and was walked to bring in Danny Bermudez to give the Catamounts their first lead of the day 2-1.  The Catamounts would leave the bases loaded but would score 2 runs with no hits in the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh inning relieving pitcher Tyler Powell came in with 2 outs.  Sammons, the starting pitcher, held the Bulldogs to 5 hits, and 1 run.  He recorded 9 strikeouts.

Catamount center fielder Cody Jones continued his 9-game hitting streak and reached base in his eighteenthstraight game with a single to right field in the bottom of the eighth. Then a wild pitch by a UNC Asheville pitcher moved Jacob Hoyle and Jones into scoring position.  An intentional walk of Danny Bermudez loaded the bases with 1 out. Taylor Sandefur singled to center field to bring in two runners and build the Catamount lead to 4-1.  The Catamounts ended in the inning with the bases loaded.

The Catamounts closed out the game with a score of 4-1.  With the win the Catamounts move to 17-9 while the Bulldogs move 9-19.  The Catamounts moved to 12-1 at home and have won their last 5 games.

The Catamounts recorded 6 hits while the Bulldogs had 5 hits.  The Catamounts recorded 1 error in the game.

Relieving pitcher Powell is credited with a save for the win and Sammons was credited with the win.

Catamount junior Jeremy Null is coming off a great week where he was named Pitcher of the Week for the Southern Conference for games played during March 24-30.  It’s his second time receiving this award this season. It is the first time since 2011 since a player has received 2 Southern Conference weekly awards in a season.  Null has additionally been named National Player of the Week and also been named National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Next up for the Catamounts is a 3 game series with UNC Greensboro the weekend of April 4.